Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Leg 1-2000 Victoria, Canada to San Diego

March 22, 2000 1330 45.52N, 125.02W
Log: 31,023 miles Barometer: 1019+ Cabin Temp: 66F
Winds: WNW 27kt Broadreaching @ 8.5 - 9.3 kts with full main and 100% headsail.
Sun coming through!

What an exciting start to our 11th year of sail-training expeditions - a passage down "The Graveyard of the North Pacific" (Washington and Oregon Coast) in late March! People thought we were crazy to propose this passage so early in the season, but we wanted to get through Panama and Caribbean before the July 1 start of hurricane season.

Amanda and I arrived in Victoria on March 15, in plenty of time to unpack, store, organize and rest up before crew arrived on March 20th. We enjoyed being moored in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria's Inner Harbor, taking long swims in the pool at theY and dinner at a different sushi restaurant each night, our personal treats.


Crew saying goodbye to Victoria, Canada. Empress Hotel in background.

Before we knew it, Monday noon had arrived and the crew were on the dock, keen for adventure! One of our expedition members, Ginny Harvey, arrived in style, she and her husband Michael sailed their Amphitrite 43 to Victoria with their daughters aboard, mooring next to Mahina Tiare III.


Ginny Harvey arrives in Victoria, in style aboard her Amphitrite 43,
Atalanta with Michael, Vienna and Rhiannon to see her off on leg 1.


Ginny and Rhiannon showing off their gorgeous huge new freezer, Michael's winter project.

The first day of expeditions is always similar - crew arrive at noon and we spend the afternoon going through safety orientation, have dinner ashore together, and then prepare for an early start. For this leg, a call to our weather router, David Burch of Starpath School of Navigation (www.starpath.com) and to National Weather Service Forecast Office Seattle were important.

Both said leave ASAP, go as quickly as possible to take advantage in a small break in the southerly gales that had been smashing the Washington coast. The tides were perfect! With a 0530 departure we had a 2kt ebb helping us all the way to Tatoosh Island at the W entrance of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. The 10-20 kt westerly wind forecasted never showed up, instead we motorsailed in light easterly following winds.

Within a couple of hours of rounding Tatoosh Island and setting a course south, the wind swung around to the SE at 15-20 kts and we spent the night motorsailing, dodging a steady stream of freighters and trying to get south as fast as possible. The winds were generally less than 20kts, and swells and seas fairly confused.

Rose Loper is all grins as she surfs down 18' swells hitting 10.4 knots!

At 0630 this morning, Rose said she was experiencing a lot of weather helm and a quick look at the instruments revealed that the forecasted switch from S to SW winds had occurred! We quickly unrolled the headsail, secured the engine and started a great sail! The winds have continued to clock and are now WNW gusting into the low 30's occasionally. We should (or could) reef, but the crew are enjoying pushing hard, getting some surfing action on the big swells. The promise of sunshine and NW winds of up to 30 knots mean that our passage to San Francisco may be our fastest one ever, but it's probably bad luck to mention that now!

Who are these intrepid sailors that have paid good money to make a passage at this time of year down this coast, and why???

Rose Loper, 50, is a test and delivery pilot for Boeing in Seattle, who just returned from the Hallberg-Rassy yard in Sweden the day before she joined us. She recently ordered a sistership to Mahina Tiare for a planned future circumnavigation with her partner, and decided this passage would give her serious ocean experience and help her select options for her own HR 46, due to arrive Seattle this November.

Dave Allegre, 53 is a developer from north of Seattle who with his wife Linda, made the very fast passage from the Marquesas to Hawaii with us on Mahina Tiare II in 1996. Dave and Linda have been preparing their Mason 44 for two years and depart Seattle this August for Mexico and the South Pacific.

Cathy Siegismund, 36, a sales trainer at Onyx Software, also from the Seattle area grew up sailing on her families 53' ketch, and now plans to depart Seattle this August with partner Ken on their Tashiba 31 also for Mexico and the South Pacific. Cathy figured that the trip down this coast would probably be one of the roughest they would encounter on their own cruise, so decided to gain the experience first with us.

Rod Mercer, 39 is a mountain climber who is also a Boeing engineer, designing circuitry for AWACS planes. He has promised to share his stories of his recent Kilimanjaro climb with us. Rod doesn't plan on retiring for some time, but wanted to check out ocean voyaging before purchasing his own boat.

Phil Holland, 52, is hydrologist-engineer from Santa Barbara who wasn't a sailor until he met his wife Judy. Even before getting married four years ago, they bought a boat together and are
planning future cruises. Phil has offered to show us the Channel islands off Santa Barbara, an offer we look forward to accepting!

Ginny Harvey, 34 is a physical therapist from Port Townsend, WA who is looking forward to sailing up the west coast of Vancouver Island this summer with daughters Vienna and Rhiannon and husband Michael aboard their Waquiez Amphitrite 43, and hopefully further afield next year. Ginny joined us on one of our Fiji expeditions in 1998.

There you have it! An eager crew - willing to learn everything they can over the next 1200 miles and two weeks, skills to take with them on their own cruising adventures.


Leg 1 crew off Oregon Coast; sunny day with following winds and seas.

And what about Mahina Tiare? She is in great shape! New main & 125% genoa, new stove/oven, gorgeous new Furlex headsail furling system - she is ready for the 11,000 miles between Victoria,
Canada and Gothenburg, Sweden this year. It will be exciting to sail into the tiny harbor of Ellos in Sweden, and invite Mahina Tiare's builders aboard!

This is a very special year for us, with many new landfalls in places like Mexico, Panama, the San Blas, Azores, Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Sweden that we have been dreaming of and studying the charts for.

March 23, 2000 42.08N 124.57W Log: 31,244 Baro: 1023
Winds: NNW@ 32-45kts, Seas: WNW 10-12'
Running wing & wing straight downwind, 8.5 - 11.4kts, SURFING!

We're hanging on here - Mahina Tiare is rocketing along like crazy with a ton of wind on the stern. We have reefed three times, now down to a double reefed main and only 80% of the headsail left. We have the pole holding the genoa out and a heavy preventer on the main. It takes total concentration on the helm as sometimes when we are surfing down the big waves a larger swell knocks us on the starboard stern quarter. I have mentioned that we could gybe the main over and broad reach off away from the coast, but our crew are doing a good job, rarely gybing. This excellent following wind is forecast to taper off at midnight and to become light variable winds, so we want to cover as many miles as we can.

We have just 7 miles until we hit 42 North, the Oregon-California border, and only 350 miles to San Francisco, so it's looking like we may break all of our previous records for this passage BY SEVERAL DAYS!

The sun came out this morning, hardly a cloud in the sky, and four huge 50'+ grey whales followed us for more than 30 minutes, crossing our course only a boat length away repeatedly, letting us pass, then gliding effortlessly ahead.

Earlier today it was mellow enough to cover several teaching topics including first aid at sea, inventory of our survival packs, discussion of electrical power generation and monitoring systems and watermaker options. Sea conditions were also mellow enough for our first showers - boy does that make us all happier campers! Everyone is over seasickness even though the seas are still large. Winds are predicted to drop after midnight, and to be light and variable tomorrow, so we want to gain as many miles as possible now. We are staying just ahead of the forecast strong southerlies, but I'm not sure how long this incredible weather scenario will hold. We would be delighted if the southerlies held off until we sail under the Golden Gate Bridge Sat. night or Sunday morning, but we shall soon see!

March 28, 2000 0900 37.20N 122.32W Log: 31595 Baro: 1020+
Winds: W @ 21kts Seas: NW @ 18' Depth: 217'
Broadreaching @ 8 kts

We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at 1730 on March 25, exactly 4 days and 12 hrs after leaving Victoria. This was by far our fastest passage ever to San Francisco with consistent following strong following winds.


Leg 1 crew excited to be sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge only 4 1/2 days after leaving Victoria.

It was just before sunset that we tied up in Schoonmaker Point Marina, Sausalito and the crew were fast asleep soon after dinner! Sunday was visiting and exploring day, with friends of Rose and Phil and ours stopping by. Yesterday (Monday) we had a nice quiet sail to Angel Island, which is in the middle of San Francisco Bay, and a gorgeous state park. Everyone made it at least part way around the island, soaking up the sunshine.

We had an early 0500 start this morning - and you should have seen the moon over the SF city front lights, with the sunrise over the East Bay! It was spectacular! We are sailing 93 miles today, hopefully making it to Monterey before dark.

Yesterday all went over the charts together, selecting favorite places to stop & explore. Monterey with John Steinbeck's Cannery Row and the aquarium were high on the list, followed by San Simeon anchorage with access to Hearst's Castle, then out to the Channel Islands (Phil's sailing waters), Santa Barbara, Catalina and San Diego.

April 4, 2000 1536 32.41S, 117.18W
Log: 32,037 Baro: 1020- Winds NW @16kts Broadreaching @ 6.6

San Diego Ahead!

We've had good winds on our sail from Avalon, Santa Catalina Island to San Diego, our final passage of Leg 1. This afternoon we practiced heaving-to, man-overboard procedures using the Lifesling, towing warp to slow us down and deploying a Galerider drogue. Then the sun burned through the light marine layer enough to allow everyone plenty of sun shots with the sextant.

Phil Holland looking for the sun between the clouds.

Rose takes a sun sight with Phil assisting.

We would have dropped the mainsail and hoisted the storm trysail, but the sailing is too good and we want to make sure we arrive in our San Diego berth before dark, so we'll practice that dockside in the morning. This crew has been delighted to study everything, as 5 out of 6 will be sailing their boats down the coast in the future!


Phil and Rod set the storm staysail during storm tactics lesson.

Gale attaching the galerider drouge for storm tactics lesson.

Our stop at San Simeon was super - we were able to land our Avon RIB 340 through the surf, upright. There were a few exciting moments as the surf built and I was trying to get the engine started, and I had to punch through one breaker resulting in a lot of water in the dinghy, but no problems. Our crew took tours of William Randolf Heart's Castle and Amanda and I strolled thru the museum.


The crew melting pot. Hearst Castle, San Simeon.

Port San Luis was our next short stop with an 0300 start in order to make Santa Barbara before dark. As this was Phil's homeport, he shouted us dinner at his yacht club on the beach and Sunday morning saw us running, hiking, exploring this colorful beachside town. An afternoon departure gave us time to cruise out to Smuggler's Cove on Santa Cruz Island. An early morning start made sure that we arrived at Avalon, Catalina Island yesterday afternoon in time to hike hills and explore the seaside village. Rose's search radar found us a neat outdoor waterfront fish market restaurant where we enjoyed an outrageous dinner. Avalon was lovely mid-week, just a handful of moorings occupied.


Avalon, Catalina Island: The focal point for all visitors to the island.

M.T.III on a mooring at Avalon, Catalina Island.

A bonus for our crew tomorrow afternoon will be a visit from Mike Barnett of Blue Water Insurance, the largest insurer of offshore cruising boats departing North America. We will be asking him for preferential rates for expedition graduates, as we know they will make a better insurance risk having completed a passage and our learning program.

Some exciting news came this morning in the form of an e-mail from Magnus Rassy at Hallberg-Rassy in Sweden. He has invited Amanda to be the guest speaker at their August 25, 2000 Open House/Boat Show.

Sail on to Leg 2, 2000



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